The Great Outdoors


With the weather going crazy this winter, we are all confused about what to do, what to expect and which way to turn. First let me tell you not to even think about tomatoes. All “warm weather” vegetables should be started in April or May, but never in February or March. “Cold crop” vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and onions can be started in early March for transplanting outside in late March or early April as these can tolerate cool/cold temperatures at night. Other vegetables such as carrots, radishes, turnips, spinach and lettuce should simply be directly sown right into the garden soil in late March or early April. But when it comes to tomatoes, peppers and eggplant sow the seeds indoors in April. And finally melons, squash and pumpkins absolutely hate cool weather so direct sow in the ground in late May, no need to grow transplants.

When sowing seeds indoors it is very important to only use the best artificial soils on the market. These soils are disease free and pasteurized to ensure best results for your growth. If you incorporate any of your own garden soil, or mix in the inexpensive $2.25 per 40 lb. bagged soils, you are asking for trouble. And do not buy soils that claim to have fertilizer within the mix as seedlings do not like fertilizer until long after they are transplanted. Also it is important to note that seedlings need to be transplanted just as soon as you see the first “true” leaf. Waiting a long time for real good growth will cause many of the seedlings to drop out at a rapid rate.

Another project that we all want to do when the sun shines and temperatures climb is re-pot our houseplants. This is actually a very good time for that as spring is the time for re-potting. There is no need to hurry however as late March/early April is ideal. Again, use the best soils out there and when re-potting, add some granulated fertilizers to the soil as these are not transplants but well established plants that have been starving all winter long.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer